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KBST News Archives for 2020-04

Former Big Spring Student on Front Line of Battle against COVID-19 in New York


Suraj Patel, former Big Spring High School student, attended BSHS until the 10th grade and then attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas. Afterwards, he attended the University of Texas in Austin.

 

He is described by his former basketball coach Tim Tannehill as being an excellent athlete and worked extremely hard in the classroom. Tannehill also advised that Suraj committed himself to anything that he was doing and that’s what made him successful.

 

Today, he works in Brooklyn, New York as a radiologist who works with COVID-19 patients daily.

 

He is the son of Dr. Nandal Patel and Rannade Patel, both formerly of Big Spring.

 

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CES Talent Show to go virtual


Although COVID-19 restrictions have closed public schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 year, it doesn’t mean the show must not go on. In fact, it will.

 

Coahoma Elementary School (CES) is taking its annual Talent Show virtual. 

 

“We love all the singing and dancing talent we have at our school, but we also love seeing students tell jokes, perform magic tricks, play musical instruments, read poems or stories, etc,” said Gina Orosco, talent show coordinator. “A variety of talent makes for a better show.”  

 

To participate, performers may:

  • Submit a tryout video by email to gorosco@coahoma.esc18.net

  • Videos are due by May 3. No late videos will be accepted.

  • Videos can not be more than 1 minute, 30 seconds long. You only need to get a sample of your act.

 

“Due to social distancing, we ask that unless you are performing with someone in your immediate family, please only submit solo acts to us,” Orosco explained. 

 

Here are some suggestions when you get ready to video to help make your hardwork and talent stand out.

 

  1. Make sure you are clear on your video and that your sound is clear as well.  Because this is not an in person talent show, it is very important that the audio and visual quality is clear.

  2. Limit background noise.

  3. Make sure the video is not blurry or shaky, 

  4. Make sure any music is clear but does not overpower the student’s voice if they are singing.  

  5. If the student is talking, make sure all words are able to be heard.

  6. If you are singing, please use the karaoke version for the background music instead of just the radio version of the song.  There are usually more than one karaoke version of songs, so you can decide which one you want to use.

 

After the submission cut off date on May 3, a committee of at least three teachers will review the videos and select the talent show participants. That list will be released on May 6. 

Virtual talent show participants will then need to send a video of your full act by May 14 to gorosco@coahoma.esc18.net

 

Your act should not be longer than three minutes.  If you submit a video of your full act that is longer than three minutes,  you will be asked to resubmit the video.

 

The virtual talent show will be posted online as one large video during the week of May 18.

 

“We look forward to seeing all the wonderful talent,” Orosco said. “Please remember to submit your tryout video by May 3. Late submissions will not be accepted.”

 

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Howard County Commissioners discuss resignations and possible part-time jail court coordinator


During Monday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, it was announced that Connie Shaw, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 in Coahoma, has given her notice of resignation. This will be effective June 30, 2020. Shaw’s current term does not expire until December 31, 2022. Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman advised that County Commissioners would need to look at appointing someone to fulfill the remainder of her term.

 

Judge Wiseman advised that she had also received a letter of resignation from Terry Chamness, Emergency Management Coordinator for Howard County. She advised that position would need to be filled quickly.

 

County Commissioners also discussed the possibility of hiring a part-time jail court coordinator to assist with processing county jail inmates. Judge Wiseman advised that there are people in jail who need to be processed. This includes getting a plea, processing the paperwork, and getting them out of jail. After the discussion which included input from District Judge Timothy Yeats and Municipal Judge Tim Green, Commissioners voted to table the item.

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DPS Reminds Motorists April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month


 

 

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding motorists that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and during the rest of the month and throughout the year, it’s important for all drivers to reduce distractions every time they get behind the wheel.

 

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were more than 96,000 crashes involving distracted driving in 2018, and these crashes led to more than 2,300 serious injuries and over 390 deaths.

 

DPS wants to remind you that distracted driving of any kind can be dangerous. In just three seconds, when you take your eyes off of the road while driving at 70 mph, your vehicle travels over the length of a football field. Distractions are anything that take a driver’s attention off the road, including talking on the phone.

 

Since Nov. 8, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day. DPS urges all Texans to commit to safe driving every time they operate a motor vehicle and offers the following reminders to help keep motorists safe:

 

  • Put your phone away or turn it off before getting behind the wheel.
  • Tell friends, family and coworkers you won’t respond to calls or texts when driving.
  • Use a smartphone app that sends auto-reply texts when you’re behind the wheel.
  • If you must text, pull entirely off the road (preferably into a location away from traffic) before devoting your focus to the phone.
  • Always give driving your full attention — no matter what, as the consequences of distracted driving can be deadly.

 

As a reminder, effective Sept. 1, 2017, state law prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending electronic messages on mobile phones while driving.

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"Drive-Thru Prayer" hosted by Life Church


Last week, drivers passing by Miss Royale’s on the corner of 16th and Gregg St. may have seen a new kind of drive-thru set up in Big Spring.

 

Last Thursday and Friday, Life Church’s Pastoral Team set up a “Prayer Drive-Thru” for anyone needing prayer. According to Pastor Greg Taylor with Life Church, everyone is welcomed. He advised that vehicles enter the designated drive-thru area, stay in their vehicle, roll down their window and tell them about their prayer request. The team wears face coverings while interacting with participants, and prays for them from outside of the vehicle. 

 

Taylor told KBest News that they’ve had a variety of people stop in for prayer. He stated that even if people don’t participate in the drive-thru, the pastoral team is still happy to spread a positive message.

 

"Sometimes, people, especially out here on Greg and 16th street, people are driving by at a pretty good pace. So, they'll honk their horns. We'll wave at them and they'll give a 'thumbs up'," said Taylor. 

 

"With our sign here that says 'Drive-Thru Prayer' 'God is For You' at least, even if they just drive by, I believe that we're putting into their minds, whatever direction they're going, that they're thinkikng about prayer."

 

Other members of the pastoral team were Pastors Manny Negron and Craig Felty. Negron told KBest News that their plan is to set up the drive-thru on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 am to 1 PM, but it would be dependent on the weather and locations may differ depending on which businesses allow them to use their parking lot. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Participants are encouraged to stay inside of their vehicles. According to Greg Taylor, this was the first and only person they had to get out of their vehicle.

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Howard County businesses outlined in Governor Abbott's executive order to open at 50 percent


Press Release April 28, 2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

On Monday, April 27, 2020, Governor Abbot issued an Executive Order to start reopening the State of Texas. The order included guidelines for opening restaurants, retail establishments, movie theaters, museums, and libraries. The order also gave approval for outdoor sports with no more than four participants and provided guidelines for churches to expand their services. Governor Abbot’s Executive Order includes the specific guidelines that each business shall follow. We strongly recommend that citizens continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and wear a mask when in public areas. Citizens should also simply stay home when possible and don’t make unnecessary trips into public. Keep in mind that local establishments may require citizens to wear a mask and can refuse service to anyone.

 

Inside of Howard County, to include the City of Big Spring, the businesses outlined in the Executive Order may open on May 1, 2020, to fifty percent (50%) of their capacity, if they follow social distancing guidelines and sanitizing guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

At this time, and by Governor Abbot’s orders, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios and cosmetology salons shall remain closed.

 

The use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks remains allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of the Governor’s executive order.

 

We are each called upon to be Texans; to act responsibly as we re-engage the economy, to continue following all health precautions and sanitizing guidelines, and to care for our vulnerable neighbors.

 

Anyone with questions regarding the specific guidelines for each business may visit the Governor’s Open Texas website at www.gov.texas.gov/opentexas

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First responders receive Clinical Save Award at Big Spring City Council Meeting, 04/28/2020


During last night’s Big Spring City Council meeting, Engineer Matt Reynolds and Lt. Tye Newman, both with the Big Spring Fire Department, were presented with a Clinical Save Award. 

 

According to Fire Chief Craig Ferguson, Engineer Rentals and Lt. Newman had responded to a patient in cardiac arrest on November 11, 2019. With the use of the AutoPulse device, the first responders were able to regain the patient’s pulse and a life was saved. 

 

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason read a proclamation declaring the month of May 2020 as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month for the City of Big Spring. 

 

 

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Front Porch Permian Campaign raises money for OHH


Oilfield Helping Hands (OHH), a non-profit organization helping oilfield families in financial crisis due to no fault of their own, has announced its Front Porch Permian Campaign.

 

The newly launched fundraising effort allows families to have a professional photo taken of their family from their front porch, while following all social distancing guidelines.  The service is free to take part in with the simple request to donate directly to Oilfield Helping Hands, supporting oilfield families in the Permian Basin.   

 

The OHH Permian Chapter serves 21 counties in West Texas, including Howard, Martin, Glasscock, and Andrews.

 

James Durbin, owner of The Oilfield Photographer, Inc., is donating his services in support of this campaign.  Multiple local sponsors have stepped in to sponsor this effort as well, including West Texas National Bank, SHK Advertising Firm, Oil Country Media, Real Estate One and Ally Outdoors.

 

It should be noted that Durbin will be aiming to produce a single, simple, family portrait and minimize time on location and physical proximity.

 

For this reason, photo shoots will take only about 15 minutes and that multiple angles, additional small groups, individual photos or headshots will not be done at the same time. 

 

For details about this campaign, to request a photo or to donate to OHH, please visit https://oilfieldhelpinghands.org/the-front-porch-permian-campaign/

 

To schedule a booking, you can also contact James Durbin at:

james@theoilfieldphotographer.com 

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Fatal Crash in Martin County, 04/27/2020


The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the man killed in a fatal 1-vehicle accident that occurred this week in Martin County.

 

The crash occurred on Monday morning at approximately 6:45 AM. It was located on FM 3033, just 5 miles northeast of Stanton. The driver was identified as 59-year-old Hector Valdez of Pharr, Texas. According to DPS, the preliminary investigation revealed that Valdez was traveling north on FM 3033 when his vehicle entered the southbound lane. Valdez then overcorrected and the vehicle left the roadway and rolled.

 

Valdez was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was pronounced dead on scene. His passenger, 21-year-old Angel Valdez, also of Pharr, was wearing a seat belt. He sustained incapacitating injuries and was transported to Midland Memorial Hospital.

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Power of the Paw - Animals Important to Mental Health


According to a 2018 newsletter from the National Institute of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.

 

Although pets have certainly become even more important during quarantine, this trend has been going on for a long time.

 

Dr. Sandy Hurwitz, with Big Spring Diagnostic Veterinary Hospital, told KBest News that due to the degeneration of the nuclear family, animals have become extremely important in keeping people's mental health up.

 

"This is a long term trend," said Dr. Hurwitz. "You hear things now like 'the human-animal bond'. That is happening because we've had a serious diminuation of the human-human bond. We're very social animals. When we don't have enough social contact, our mental health deteriorates significantly."


 

(Source: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets)

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National Guard conducts free COVID-19 testing in Howard County on May 3, 2020


The National Guard will be conducting free of charge drive thru coronavirus testing in Big Spring on Sunday, May 3, 2020.

 

Collection will take place from 9 AM to 5 PM under the awning of the Trinity Baptist Church, located at 1701 E. FM 700. Be advised that citizens can only be tested with an appointment and should not show up on the testing site without first calling 512-883-2400 or registering at txcovidtest.org. Once approved the person will receive a pin which will have to be presented at the site and before collection will be completed. 

 

Registration will not be accepted prior to 24 hours before testing therefore you will not be able to register before Saturday, May 2nd at 9 AM.

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COVID-19 Contact Investigation


The City of Big Spring has been working in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services to follow the confirmed cases of COVD-19 in Big Spring and Howard County. A major part of that work is contact investigation. Contact investigation is conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services to actively trace where a COVID-19 positive patient has been and where they contracted their illness.

 

As of Monday, April 27, 2020, Howard County has four confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of the four confirmed positive cases, they know the origin of three at this time. One case was travel-related; two cases were a healthcare worker that contracted the virus from other COVID-19 patients. The fourth positive case is still under investigation by DSHS.

 

As of yesterday at approximately 4 PM, there have been 110 tests performed in Big Spring and Howard County. There were 12 tests pending, 96 negatives, and 4 have been confirmed with no new cases. So far, there have been 0 recovered cases.

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Governor Greg Abbott announces plan to re-open the state


Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott provided more information on his plan to reopen the State of Texas in 3 phrases. 

 

Abbott stated that he would let his original stay-at-home executive order signed earlier this month expire April 30th and that phase 1 would begin on Friday, May 1st. During this phase, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums, and libraries would be allowed to reopen with no more than 25 percent occupancy. Rural counties with five or fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 are allowed to have occupancy at 50 percent. It was noted that should the number of confirmed cases increase beyond 5, then occupancy in phase 1 would decrease to 25 percent.

 

According to Abbott, Texas could lift more restrictions as soon as May 18 barring “flare-ups” of COVID-19 cases, which he said will be measured by data including hospitalizations and deaths. 

 

Abbott said barbershops, hair salons, bars, and gyms must still remain closed for now, with the hope those businesses will be able to resume business on or no later than mid-May. 

 

Outdoor sports are also allowed, as long as there are no more than 4 participants at one time. Sports such as golf and tennis are also acceptable. 

 

To read more on the Governor's Report to reopen Texas, visit: 

https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas

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Lt. Jimmy Mayes retires from Howard County Sheriff's Office


On Friday morning, Lt. Jimmy Mayes reported for duty at the Howard County Sheriff’s Office for the last time. Lt. Mayes began his law enforcement career in 1989 with the Big Spring Police Department. From there, he worked in Lamb County as Chief Deputy from 2001 - 2010. He then returned to Howard County to work with Sheriff Stan Parker in 2010 and has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for the remainder of his career.

 

Mayes has served the local community and the citizens of the State of Texas for over 30 years. When asked how he felt about his time in service, Mayes told KBest News that his experience was unbelievable and he wouldn’t have done anything differently. He stated that law enforcement is an honorable career and it’s been amazing.

 

Now that he’s retired, Mayes says he’s ready to take it easy and has no big plans at this time.

 

(Photo credit: Howard County Sheriff's Office Facebook page)

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BSACF Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant 


Last week, the Big Spring Area Community Foundation Board of Directors announced the creation of a one-time relief grant program for small businesses within Howard County impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Businesses throughout Howard County are experiencing lost income due to restrictions placed on them by the Governor of Texas' Executive Order for non-essential businesses which has limited their business hours and shopping procedures or have led them to temporarily close. 

 

With the Governor's decision to reopen businesses in Texas, this relief grant is to be used by businesses to pay expenses directly related to reopening the business. 

According to Drew Mouton, BSACF Board President, the amount of the grant will be dependent on how many qualifying businesses apply, but they anticipate grants in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.

 

Business owners can access the eligibility requirements and download a Grant Application on the Foundation website at www.BSACF.org with applications being due by Friday, May 15, 2020 at 5:00 pm. 

 

For more information, please contact the Foundation offices at 432-714-4316 or email Greg Henry at greghenry1996@gmail.com. 

 

About the Big Spring Area Community Foundation 

The Big Spring Area Community Foundation was established in 2001 to help individuals and families create personal, permanent and powerful legacies with charitable funds customized to meet their philanthropic goals. 

 

 

BUSINESS ELIGIBILITY FOR BSACF COVID-19 GRANTS 

The Business must: 

1. Be owned and operated by Howard County residents; 

2. Have a storefront located in Howard County (home-based businesses are not  eligible); 

3. Not be part of a national chain or franchise; 

4. Have either closed or had operations severely restricted (resulting in a financial loss) as a result of Covid-19; 

5. Use the grant to pay expenses directly related to reopening the business; 

6. Commit to return the grant if the business does not reopen within six months of the grant; 

7. Be primarily retail or in the business of rendering personal services to individuals, such as: 

a. Restaurants/Bars; b. Barber shops; c. Beauty salons; d. Dental offices; e. Other businesses that meet the criteria. 

 

Grant application can be found here:

https://static.spacecrafted.com/efc9377716714cc299ce227200c03fa3/r/c7f6030440174359836390190025b4bb/1/COVID%2019%20Business%20Eligibility%20%20and%20Application.pdf

 

(Photo credit: Big Spring Herald)

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Local Government Meetings for Howard County and the City of Big Spring


HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT, 4/27/2020

 

Howard County Commissioners will hold a budget workshop today at the Howard County Courthouse beginning at 2:30 PM. The workshop will be streamed on the Facebook page for Howard County Info and Tech. Afterwards, there will be a regular meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court that will begin at 3:30 PM.

 

Items on today’s agenda include discussion and possible action on a retirement notice from Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, plus, a proposal of a mailing service contract with The Master’s Touch, LLC for the Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office. There will also be a discussion and possible action on a jail court coordinator. Brian Klinkseik, County Road Engineer, is also listed on the agenda to present the 2020 Road Report.

 

To view the full agenda, visit: 

http://www.co.howard.tx.us/upload/template/1880/2020%20Agendas/20200424134152278.pdf

 

 

BIG SPRING CITY COUNCIL MEETING, 4/28/2020

 

The City of Big Spring will meet for a regular session tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. It should be noted that the public is still able to attend the meetings in person, if they choose to do so. The meeting can also be viewed by a live broadcast on Suddenlink Channel 17 or through the Media Center on the city website at mybigspring.com. Those wishing to make a public comment can do so by calling 432-264-2411 during the meeting.

 

The full agenda can be viewed at: 

 https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04282020-396

 

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Safe Mental Health Care During the COVID-19 Outbreak - VA Encourages Veterans to Access VA Mental Health Support from Home


BIG SPRING, TX — May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now more than ever, the West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) is committed to providing high-quality mental health care while keeping Veterans safe from exposure to the coronavirus.

 

To help reduce the risk of infection at the facility, WTVAHCS asks that Veterans use VA’s online resources for routine or non-urgent mental health care and questions. This will help protect Veterans from contracting COVID-19 while enabling providers at WTVAHCS to focus on care for Veterans with the most acute needs.

 

According to Jason Cave, Interim Director for WTVAHCS, due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, and out of concern for their Veterans, they are honoring current physical distancing guidelines. He advised that through the VA’s virtual care tools, they are able to leverage available technology to make sure that their patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.

 

VA offers Veterans a variety of at-home resources, including the following:

 

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans should maintain their existing mental health appointments — and may receive care at home — using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their health care provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans can learn more about VA Video Connect at mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

 

Prescription Refills and Safety – Veterans should continue taking all medications as prescribed and talk to their mental health provider if they have any concerns. Veterans may request prescription refills and order shipments of medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app, which can be downloaded at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill. VA’s Safe Home Environment handout provides information on safely storing medications in the home.

 

Mental Health Information and Resources – VA provides information on ways for Veterans and their families to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information about managing stress and anxiety, as well as mental health resources, are available at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/resources.

 

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps Veterans monitor their symptoms and can assist those who need to contact their VA facility for care. Veterans may enroll in the app at mobile.va.gov/annie.

 

Mental Health Month – This May, VA is observing Mental Health Month by emphasizing that “Now Is the Time.” Even during the coronavirus outbreak, Veterans can still prioritize their mental health. Veterans and their families can visit www.MakeTheConnection.net/MHM to learn more about mental health resources and hear stories of recovery from other Veterans.

 

WTVAHCS has a well-established infrastructure to offer a multitude of tele-health options for our Veterans. Veterans can call 24/7 to our Nurse Triage Line 1-866-862-7863 with their questions or concerns.

 

For more information on ways for Veterans to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus.

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3rd and 4th cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Howard County


Press Release
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management


Re: COVID-19


On April 23rd, 2020 at approximately 2:00 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of the third and fourth positive test results for COVID-19 in Howard County. The patients are a 42 year old male and 26 year old female. The patients are currently self-isolating at their places of residence. The female is believed to have contracted the virus in the health care industry outside of Howard County. The male is still under investigation by the Department of State Health Services.

 

Please continue to take necessary precautions such as social distancing, wash your hands, stay home if you are sick and wearing a mask if you must go out in public.

 

Your local officials commend all community stakeholders that have been affected by this pandemic as hard decisions have had to be made in the interest of all our citizens.

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Texas State Parks Reopened


Texas State Parks reopened for day-use only on Monday, April 20, as part of a broader effort to begin reopening the state of Texas.  Per Governor Abbott’s direction, new restrictions in effect include requiring visitors to wear face coverings and maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five.

 

It should be noted that due to limited staffing, weather conditions and continuing construction projects, there are some state parks that will not be open at the current time. Park visitors should check the Texas State Parks Alert Map regularly for the latest information about the status of individual parks. The resumption of overnight camping will be announced to the public once a date has been determined.

 

For the latest information, please check the TPWD website.

 

To read the full press release from TPWD, visit:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/?req=20200420a

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State National Bank Joins "Texas Banks 4 Food Banks" Campaign


State National Bank of Big Spring has joined the Texas Bankers Association and its charitable arm, the Texas Bankers Foundation, in making a contribution to the West Texas Food Bank and the South Plains Food Bank, as part of the Feeding Texas network of 21 food banks that serve all 254 Texas counties. The Foundation is making contributions totaling $26,000 on behalf of Texas banks as part of the “Texas Banks 4 Food Banks” initiative.

 

Texas community banks have led the nation in processing Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses as well as supporting individual customers in a variety of ways throughout the crisis. Bankers, however, recognize the overwhelming challenges Texas food banks are experiencing as the unprecedented demand for assistance makes it more difficult than ever to keep their shelves stocked.

 

“We have seen the demand and the significant needs at food banks across the state and are inspired by the incredible efforts of the Feeding Texas network to meet those needs,” said State National Bank’s President & CEO, Richard Steel. “We have been assisting our customers and communities through this difficult time with their financial needs, but it’s also very important that we help with their essential needs as well.”

 

Texas banks and the Texas Bankers Foundation have been giving back to their communities during disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey, tornadoes, shootings and fires, and through contributions to military organizations and 4-H and Future Farmers of America, to name a few.

 

Whether it is putting food on the table by helping to preserve jobs or literally helping to put food on the table in partnership with Feeding Texas, the Texas Bankers Association and its member banks embrace the tagline, “Strong Banks. Stronger Communities,” now more than ever.

 

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Meeting a Community Need: Isaiah 58 Opens for Food Distribution every Sunday afternoon


Isaiah 58, the local food pantry in Big Spring, re-opened earlier this month with a modified schedule and distribution process so that they could continue to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

According to Nancy Stinson, CEO and President of Isaiah 58, the non-profit organization was able to distribute approximately 235 food boxes on Easter Sunday. 

 

“It went fast, easy," said Stinson about the new drive-thru process. "everyone was happy. We were happy! We got to see them again. [We] got to see some folks, in abundance and not touch [anybody],” said Stinson.

 

Even though they had a great response on Easter Sunday, Stinson told KBest News that this past Sunday’s turnout was low with only 71 clients turning out to pick up food boxes.  

 

“We were kinda disappointed,” said Stinson of the low turnout. “We had boxes ready to go, and I just want everybody to know they can come every Sunday. I’m not gonna be askin’ - ‘Hey, were you here last week? Were you here the week before?’ If you need food, come get it.”


Isaiah 58 will be open for food distribution on Sundays from 12 pm - 2 pm or while supplies last. Distribution will be set up as a drive-thru, again, with the entry on Scurry and the exit on 9th Street. Staff will load boxes into the vehicles and no one will be allowed to get out of the vehicle. For clients who may be carpooling to Isaiah 58 on Sunday, she advised that they will allow up to 4 food boxes per vehicle as long as the households are at different addresses.

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PSA: City Park Playground Structures and Pavilions Closed


REMINDER from the City of Big Spring: Even though the City has reopened city parks, please remember that playground structures and park pavilions are still closed. This includes the use of Kidz Zone, Cotton Mize softball field, playground structures at Comanche Trail Park, ABC Park, Birdwell Park, Bert Andries Park, Dr. Morgan Park, and any other city owned playground structure or pavilion.

 

We also ask that citizens adhere to the following rules concerning City Parks:

• Visitors will be required to wear face covering.

 

• Only visit in groups of 5 or less.

 

• Maintain social distancing of at least 6ft. separation between individuals or groups that are not in your household.

 

For any questions or concerns please contact the City Manager’s Office at 432-264-2401.

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2nd Case of COVID-19 Confirmed for Howard County, 04/22/2020


Press Release

From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

Re: COVID-19

 

On April 22, 2020 at approximately 1:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a second positive test result for COVID-19 in Howard County. The patient is 62-years-old female. This patient is currently self-

quarantining at their place of residence with other members of the family.

 

The patient has been at home recovering and is doing well. The patient is expected to fully recover.

 

Local officials continue to work with various local agencies to mitigate mutual concerns and reach conclusions on how best to handle this situation.

 

Please continue to take necessary precautions such as social distancing, wash your hands, stay home if you are sick.

 

Your local officials commend all community stakeholders that have been affected by this pandemic as hard decisions have had to be made in the interest of all our citizens.

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Ride with the Mayor on May 2, 2020


In anticipation of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason has begun to coordinate an event that local riders can participate in and practice social distancing.

 

"I thought it would be a good event that we could put on, practice social distancing, and still give the riding citizens of Big Spring something to do, and help generate a little public awareness for motorcycles [and] promote motorcycle safety," said Thomason.

 

He went on to say that riders will be asked to wear a helmet for the ride, and reminded citizens to "keep their head on a swivel when it comes to motorcycles. They're very easy to overlook. We have people get hit every year here in Big Spring, and we want to try to reduce that," continued Thomason.

 

As a rider himself, Thomason explained that most riders carry bandanas and motorcycles are more than 6 feet apart on the highway. He told KBest News that he’s still working out details for the event, but as of now it is scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd, at 1 PM, and he anticipates the ride will be a tour-ride, no more than 2 hours long. 

 

It was also noted that even though the photo listed on the event page shows the mayor sitting on his motorcycle with 2 people within very close proximity, Thomason stated that the photo is from 2011 at Funtastic Fourth and assured that social distancing will be encouraged during the event.

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Area News: Pedestrian killed in Auto Accident, 04/21/2020


A fatal vehicle-pedestrian crash occurred in Ector County on Tuesday night.

 

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, troopers responded to the crash at approximately 10:05 PM. The preliminary investigation revealed that the pedestrian, identified as 56-year-old Anthony Multhaupt of Odessa, was sitting in the westbound lane of 42nd street when he was struck by a GMC Yukon driven by 34-year-old Amanda Davis, also, of Odessa. Multhaupt was pronounced dead on scene.

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Social Distancing impacts Mental Health


Washing your hands and practicing social distancing continue to play a huge roll in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Although no harm has come from frequently washing your hands, the American Psychological Association advises that spending days or weeks at home with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll on mental health. 

 

Emily Flores, Program Specialist with the Big Spring State Hospital, told KBest News that people can experience feelings of frustration, loneliness, anger, or depression during this time. She advised that one of the most positive ways that people can cope with social distancing within their environment is by maintaining their routine and finding hobbies that will get them outdoors. She also encouraged people to use social media to connect with family and friends through video chat rather than meeting in person.

 

Flores advised that if anyone is experiencing negative feelings from social distancing, especially depression or anger, they should contact West Texas Centers, the designated local authority for mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities for this area. 

 

It should also be noted that the Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.

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Forsan ISD Kindergarten and Pre-K Virtual Pre-Registration for 2020-2021 school year


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pre-registration for Forsan ISD’s kindergarten and pre-k will be done virtually. Items needed for registration include a copy of the following items: certified birth certificate, social security card, immunization record, proof of residency for district students only - such as a utility bill, parent’s driver license, and proof of income for pre-k students only. 

 

Pre-K students must be 4-years-old and kindergarten students must be 5-years-old on or before September 1, 2020. 

 

Be advised that new transfer students for kindergarten - 5th grade may apply at this time, however, current students, both district and transfer, do not need to pre-register. 

 

For more information, contact Mandy Buske at 432-457-0091, ext. 203, email abuske@forsan.esc18.net, or fax 432-457-0040.

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Scenic Mountain Medical Center Launches "Shine on Health Care Heroes" Campaign to Thank Big Spring Health Workers


Scenic Mountain Medical Center Asks Local Businesses, Patients and Residents to Join in Hanging Lights at Home to Brighten Workers’ Spirits

 

BIG SPRING, TX – Scenic Mountain Medical Center, a Steward Family hospital, today announced the launch of its “Shine on Health Care Heroes” campaign, an effort to enlist patients, residents, and local business partners in applauding health care workers both in Big Spring and across the country from the safety of their homes. Scenic Mountain Medical Center is asking community members to hang lights outside their home as part of Steward Health Care’s national effort to thank health care workers and support doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who have continued to show incredible bravery during this time of uncertainty and distress.

 

“The spread of COVID-19 has caused anxiety both around the world and here in Big Spring, touching each of us and upending the way we live,” said Emma Krabill, President of Scenic Mountain Medical Center. “While most shelter at home with their families, health care workers continue to bravely risk their own health and safety to ensure residents have access the highest-quality care. Our hope is that seeing lights throughout our community will uplift and brighten frontline medical workers’ spirits and show them just how much we appreciate them and are thinking about them during this time.”

 

“As a national health care company, Steward has a unique opportunity to champion action at this unprecedented and challenging moment,” said Dr. Joseph Weinstein, Chief Medical Officer for Steward Health Care, the nation’s largest private, tax-paying, physician-led health care network. “We wanted to show the entire health care community, both within Steward and beyond, that we are here to support them, while also involving Americans who are eager to help and share their own gratitude.”

 

In addition to hanging lights outside their homes, members of the community are encouraged to share messages of love and appreciation on social media using the hashtag #ShineOnHealthCareHeroes. Scenic Mountain Medical Center will work to partner with local businesses to amplify the campaign in weeks and months ahead.  

 

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"Adopt a High School Senior" Program shows support for High School Seniors in Howard County Area


COVID-19 restrictions have been put in place since mid-March and there is no doubt that they will have an impact on high school graduations. Although seniors have had to sit at home for this last part of their senior year, Jaque Richardson of Coahoma has coordinated a way to let them know that they are not forgotten with the "Adopt a High School Senior" program.

 

The idea was presented by Laken Reedy, who had seen that it was something that was being done in other communities. Richardson created a private Facebook group for the program.

 

According to Richardson, one of the requirements to participate is that a parent or guardian has to approve the post to the group. The parent/guardian will post a photo of their high school senior, a short description of the student with information on what school they go to, what they participate in, and what their plans are after graduation. News posts should have #notadopted so that it's easy to search for students who still need adoption.

 

To participate, search #notadopted. Once one is found, comment "Happy to Adopt" on post, AND also private message the senior's parent to get approval and list of likes, interests, etc. Mailing and drop-off information should be through the parent or guardian. 

 

Be advised that “Adopt a High School Senior - Howard County, TX Area” is a private group on Facebook and members must be invited to join. Richardson told KBest News that the group extends beyond Howard County to nearby areas like Westbrook, Colorado City, and Garden City. She stated that the group is private because they wanted to limit it to people in the area who are familiar with the communities and families.

 

In less than 2 weeks, the group has reached over 1300 members and continues to grow. Richardson told KBest News that she had no idea that the group would grow so quickly but she’s thrilled that it has.

 

"I just love that everyone is just wanting to support these seniors who are having to go through something that they never thought they'd have to go through. So, I just want to say thank you to all of them because we're just all really trying to show to all of the seniors in the area. Personally, I know that it's a hard time for them and we just want to show all the love and support and we can," said Richardson.

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PSA: Big Spring City Parks Update, 04/20/2020


Beginning today, the City of Big Spring will be following Governor Greg Abbott’s rules to reopen State Parks and will reopen Comanche Trail Park, Comanche Trail Lake, and outside parks, including Birdwell Park, ABC Park, Bert Andries Park, and Dr. Morgan Park. Be advised that Pavilions and play structures will remain closed during this time.

 

The State of Texas requires that visitors to state parks, including Big Spring State Park, must adhere to the following guidelines:

• Visitors will be required to wear a face covering.

• Only visit in groups of 5 or less.

• Maintain social distancing of at least 6ft. separation between individuals or groups that are not in your household.

 

City parks will follow the same rules and will be open during daylight hours only.

 

Comanche Trail Golf Course and Moss Lake will remain closed due to maintenance and will reopen on May 1st.

 

All City rentable facilities, including Dora Roberts Community Center, Municipal Auditorium, Comanche Trail Amphitheater, Roy Anderson Sports Complex, and all Comanche Trail Park Pavilions will remain closed until Monday, June 1, 2020 or until further notice.

 

All City Offices are still open by appointment only.

 

For any questions or concerns please contact the City Manager’s Office at 432-264-2401.

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Establishing Strike Force To Open Texas Directs Select Services To Reopen, Closes Schools For Remainder Of Academic Year


 

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Important to stay active during social distancing.


Physical activity is known to have the ability to provide immediate benefits. It can help to boost one’s mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and sharpen focus — benefits that can be especially important during stressful times. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity can also help you live a longer, healthier life by reducing the risk of many common chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

 

Dathan Jones, CEO of the YMCA of Big Spring, told KBest News that being active during this time of social distancing can improve self-esteem, and will help people feel a lot better than minimal movement around the house. He also advised that most adults will need to slowly work their way into fitness.

 

Walking around the block, doing jumping jacks in your house, or squats are great ways to get started. He advised that it's a good idea to begin with intervals of 10-15 minutes of activity to get in 30-40 minutes of physical activity every day.

 

Jones advised that people can jog in the backyard, run in place in their house, or just get creative with their cardio exercises, or find online videos to follow along. The maximum heart rate to aim for is 220-age, but he reminded that people should listen to their bodies if they’re feeling fatigue then they should slow down and modify movements if needed.

 

"The most important thing is that you gotta get up off that couch," said Jones. "You gotta get up and gotta get moving."

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Area News: Texas DPS assists with Midland County Sheriff's Deputies in vehicle pursuit.


 

According to Sgt. Oscar Villarreal, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, at approximately 12:51 p.m. yesterday afternoon, DPS Troopers assisted Midland County Sheriff’s Deputies with the pursuit of a stolen vehicle heading westbound on Business Interstate 20. 

 

The suspect, identified as 38-year-old Manuel Marmolejo of Odessa, was driving recklessly, endangering the lives of motoring public, as he fled from officers. Marmolejo eventually turned north onto Faudree Road, and Troopers attempted to disable the vehicle by discharging their firearms at the vehicle’s tires. The pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle crashed into a civilian vehicle. Marmolejo then fled on foot and was ultimately captured. 

 

He was charged with evading arrest in a motor vehicle and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.  

 

This is an active investigation, and no further information is available at this time.

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SMMC Visitor Restrictions as of 04/16/2020


Yesterday, it was announced that everyone on Steward properties, including the Scenic Mountain Medical Center facilities, should have a mask on. According to SMMC, this new measure has been put in place for visitors’ protection, as well as the protection of patients and hospital staff.

 

It should also be noted that anyone under the age of 18, unless seeking treatment, will not be permitted in the hospital. Visitor exceptions will be made for pediatric patients, mothers and babies, and end-of-life situations. All of which will be determined by the care team and will not exceed more than 1 visitor at a time. 

 

For more information, visit the Facebook page for Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

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Registration begins for Howard College Summer Classes


Registration is now open for Howard College Summer classes and the class schedule is currently available on their website at howardcollege.edu.

 

Be advised that all classes will be online. For students graduating from high school this year, Howard College is offering a “JumpStart Rate” which allows any student graduating from high school to take summer classes at the dual credit rate. It should be noted that they must speak to an advisor to register so they get this rate.

 

Scholarship submission has moved to an online format and instructions and forms can be found on their website. Priority deadline has passed, however applications will continue to be taken. Be advised that everyone needs to apply regardless of their financial need as determined by FAFSA.

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DPS Seeks Leads in 1985 Cold Case Death of Mexia Woman


 

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety is seeking information and asking for the public’s help in solving the 1985 cold case homicide of Dorothy Estep. An increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for her death if the tip is received before the next featured Texas Rangers cold case is announced. A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers Unsolved Homicides website.

 

Estep, 32, was last seen by her neighbor on the evening of Sept. 29, 1985, as she was leaving her home in Mexia, located just outside of Waco in Limestone County, to pick up her daughter from her ex-husband’s house. The following day, Estep failed to show up for work, where she was a social worker for the state of Texas. After being unable to reach her, a coworker reported her missing.

 

Later in the day on Sept. 30, 1985, Estep’s vehicle — a yellow Plymouth Sapporo — was found on U.S. 84 near the Elk cutoff in neighboring McLennan County. Estep was found deceased in the trunk. Texas Rangers and local law enforcement have worked diligently on this investigation; however, all leads have been exhausted, and the Rangers are asking for the public’s help to solve this case.

 

To be eligible for cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.

 

Individuals can also submit information through the Texas Rangers cold case website or by contacting them at 1-800-346-3242 (Missing Persons Hotline).

 

The DPS Texas Rangers Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 125 cases in an effort to garner public interest in unsolved or cold cases. Texas Crime Stoppers offers rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Rangers cold case website.

 

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program will be featured bi-monthly in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

 

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved homicides or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

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Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month


April is Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. According to Linda Calvio, Executive Director for Victim Services, sexual assault is probably one of the most unreported crimes because of the stigma attached to it. Calvio told KBest News that it’s the hardest to prosecute because most times there’s hardly any evidence. 

 

Calvio stated that in her 21 years of experience, sexual assaults go unreported because of the steps involved in the process of reporting, the prosecution, the waiting, and victims thinking that no one will believe them. 

 

Last year, Victim Services had 22 adult sexual assaults and 28 sexual assaults of children in their 5-county service area, with 90 percent of those occurring in Howard County. 

 

Calvio told KBest News that Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is important to educate the community because they are potential jurors. 

 

If you've been a victim of sexual assault, you can contact Victim Services, 24 hours a day/7 days per week, at 432-263-3312 or visit the national RAINN (Rape, Assault, & Incest National Network) website at: rainn.org

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Big Spring City Council discusses the possibility of appointing a local health official. 


During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council, Raul Marquez, Councilman for District 1, suggested that the city look into contracting a local health official. During the discussion, Big Spring Emergency Management Team Lead Chief Craig Ferguson advised that Emma Krabill, CEO of Scenic Mountain Medical Center, had candidates in mind for the position. It was also noted that physicians would have questions prior to accepting the position, such as what are the responsibilities and duties, hours, and compensation.

 

City Attorney Andrew Hagan advised that the person could also be involved with Code Enforcement-type activities not specific to COVID-19. The position would be the liaison between health and safety, and would have supervisory authority and control over the administration of communicable disease control measures within his or her jurisdiction. 

 

Ultimately, Councilmember Jim DePauw, District 6, and Mayor Shannon Thomason agreed and suggested that they should coordinate with Howard County officials so that they could split the duties and share the cost of the physician.

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Howard County to apply for 2020 County Transportation Infrastructure Fund Grant Program


During a meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court on Monday, it was noted that Howard County will apply for the 2020 TXDOT County Transportation Infrastructure Fund Grant Program. This program provides funding to eligible counties for transportation infrastructure projects located in areas of the state affected by increased oil and gas production. Applications for the grant will be accepted from April 27, 2020 - May 27, 2020. The estimated grant funds available for eligible counties, according to TXDOT, is $250 million. 

 

County Engineer Brian Klinkseik advised Commissioners that the projected amount of the grant allotment is $8.5 million, but the list of proposed grant projects exceeds that amount at an estimated cost of $9.1 million. He anticipated that these projects would be able to begin in Fall 2020.

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City Manager's Personnel Matters discussed in Open Session at Big Spring City Council Meeting, 04/14/2020


Big Spring City Manager Todd Darden’s continued employment with the City was discussed in Open Session during last night’s regular meeting of the Big Spring City Council. Prior to the discussion, Darden was given the option to have his personnel matters discussed in executive session or in open session, and he chose the latter. 

 

During the discussion, Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6, told Darden that he appreciated his 32 years of service to the city but he felt that it was time for a new City Manager with fresh ideas. 

 

Councilman Raul Marquez, District 1, also stated that he appreciated Darden’s service as well and noted he had made strides in his performance as a City Manager. Marquez stated that he did not feel that this was a good time to evaluate him publicly and felt that it was important for everyone to work together during this time. Councilman Doug Hartman, District 2, also spoke upon Darden’s behalf, stating that he does an excellent job. 

 

After the discussion, DePauw made a motion to immediately terminate Darden’s employment as City Manager with the City of Big Spring. Mayor Shannon Thomason declared DePauw to be out of order, because, according to Darden’s employee contract, a written complaint is required prior to any disciplinary action that can be taken and DePauw did not have one to present. DePauw appealed the decision of the chair, however, there was no second and his motion to terminate Darden died. 

 

When asked why he decided to have his personnel matters discussed in Open Session, Darden told KBest News that it was done in effort to have transparency. He also said that some of his staff had thought that the issues between him and the council were a reflection of his team, and he wanted them to know that wasn’t the case. 

 

"I take to heart what [the Council] asks me to do as a City Manager, and try to do it and accomplish that. We do great things as a team. You know, as I told the Mayor, I'm ready for a vote tonight, just to get it over with and get it behind us with one way or another, but I respect [the Mayor's] decision and opions on the matter," said Darden. 

 

Darden went on to say that he had not sought advice from an attorney on the situation, nor had he ever read his employee contract.

 

"My contract is to work for the citizens of Big Spring at this Council's pleasure. However they decide, I'll respect their decision and move forward and hopefully we can get this behind us and start accomplishing some more great things in this community."

 

While discussing other personnel matters, it was announced that Donald Moore, City Secretary, had resigned as the Internal Auditor.

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Thank a Veteran Day: KBest spotlights Army Air Corp Veteran Orville Spralding


Today is “Thank a Veteran Day” and KBest would like to spotlight Orville Spralding, an Army Air Corp Veteran who served from 1943-1946 during World War II. Spralding was attending school at Texas Tech when he was drafted into service. After spending time stationed in Texas and Alabama, he was able to continue with college courses while still serving. Eventually, he returned to the Air Corp and served in the 93rd Chemical Warfare Battalion in Europe. 

 

Spralding told KBest News that his battalion was in Europe on Victory in Europe Day, also known as VE Day. After the Battle of the Bulge, the most miraculous thing that he appreciated was that they were able to bring back every man they took into combat and returned on the 4th of July after VE Day in 1945.

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Howard County Commissioners Court Highlights, 04/13/2020


During Monday’s regular meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, Gene Moore with AT&T spoke to Commissioners about conducting a mandatory assessment of the county’s election security. Moore stated that this mandatory assessment is a non-budget affecting assessment that is 100 percent paid for by state funds. If approved, the assessment would be for the entire elections infrastructure and would include assessment of the people involved in the elections, the technology components, and the policies and procedures of how the county conducts elections. 

 

According to House Bill 1421, which became effective Sept. 1, 2019, county election officials are required to request annual cybersecurity training and a cybersecurity assessment of their county’s election system from the Texas Secretary of State. The program is funded by the 2018 Help America Vote Act “HAVA” Security Fund Grants. 

 

Although the assessment is free for the county, it was unclear where funding would come from if security concerns were found. Ultimately, Commissioners voted to table the item until the next meeting. 

 

Commissioners voted to temporarily discontinue in-person payments for the Road and Bridge Department during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, payments can still be made online at:

 

https://www.officialpayments.com/pc_entry_cobrand.jsp?productId=37210650789311486051676283493584988

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Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce continues to support businesses during pandemic.


During this time of pandemic restrictions, several businesses have modified their services so they can continue to serve their customers by adding online shopping or pick-up and delivery options for restaurants.

 

The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce has continued to bring attention to businesses who are continuing to serve the people of Howard County. According to Mark Richardson, President of the Board of Directors for the local organization, in times like this the role of the Chamber is as critical as ever and has even intensified because people are actively seeking their help to find resources, restaurants, and certain services. 

 

According to Richardson, the Chamber office keeps track of businesses that are still open and how the public can go about conducting business.

 

"Right now, these businesses are depending on everybody knowing that they're still open and they still have employees to take care of, and those employees still need their paychecks. So, the updated list by the Chamber, which you can find on the Chamber of Commerce's Facebook page, is critical to the mission and role of the Chamber of Commerce," said Richardson.

 

For more information on businesses that are offering services at this time, or retaurants that are offering pick-up or delivery options, contact the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce at 432-263-7641. 

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Big Spring City Council meeting Tonight, 04/14/2020


The City of Big Spring will meet for a regular session tonight at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. The meeting can be viewed by a live broadcast on Suddenlink Channel 17 or through the Media Center on the city website at: http://mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live

 

Those wishing to make a public comment can do so by calling 432-264-2411 during the meeting.

 

Items on the agenda include awarding bids on seal coat and water line replacement, as well as discussion on appointing a local health authority for the City of Big Spring.

 

There will also be first readings on resolutions amending City of Big Spring personnel policies and procedures, Code of Conduct and Ethics for City Council. A first reading of an ordinance amendment that would clarify parliamentary standards of conduct, and procedures on agenda and preparation review, meetings and executive sessions, as well as to update state law references and clarify posting requirements to improve transparency is also listed for possible approval.

 

Full agenda can be viewed at: http://mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04142020-395

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Big Spring Man Killed in Fatal Motorcycle Crash, 04/11/2020


Over the weekend, a Big Spring man was killed in a fatal motorcycle crash in Howard County.

 

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, troopers responded at 7:44 PM to the crash located on FM 821 approximately 6.5 miles south of Forsan on Saturday, April 11th. 

 

The preliminary investigation states that 52-year-old Jesse Cantu was killed after he entered a curve on the roadway at an unsafe speed. He then left the roadway and rolled. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and was pronounced dead on scene.

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In Light of Federal Guidelines for Commercial Drivers, DPS Extends Deadline for CDL Holders to Submit Medical Certificates


 

AUSTIN – In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has suspended the automatic downgrade of commercial driver licenses (CDL) by providing CDL holders with an extension for the medical certificates required for CDLs if a driver is unable to provide a current medical certificate due to COVID-19. This action comes in light of guidelines issued last month by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and following the closure of DPS driver license (DL) offices across the state due to COVID-19. 

 

FMCSA has waived compliance for medical certificates until June 30. While DPS will still be processing any medical certificates received, this federal guidance has allowed DPS to discontinue the downgrade of CDLs for those individuals with expired medical certificates. This extension helps ensure that commercial drivers are able to continue working throughout the current national emergency due to COVID-19.

 

Any driver with an updated certificate can submit it to DPS via email at CDLMedCert@dps.texas.gov or by fax at (512) 424-2002. For those commercial drivers following the extension guidelines, it’s important to note that you will have 60 days from the date DPS provides public notice that normal issuance procedures have resumed to submit a current medical certificate. When DPS resumes normal DL operations and offices are reopened, CDL holders will be able to renew their licenses without penalty.

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Pre-registration for CISD Kindergarten, Pre-K3 & Pre-K4 underway


Due to COVID-19, Coahoma Elementary will be handling Pre-K3, Pre-K4 and Kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 school year a little differently.

 

For safety precautions, district officials will only take registration by phone at this time. The phone registration does not guarantee your child will be attending CES for the 2020-2021 school year, but it will give the district a starting point until restrictions are lifted. 

 

Pre-registration by phone will continue through Friday, April 17, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Please note, CISD will be closed this Friday, April 10, and Monday, April 13. To register, please call 432-394-5000, ext 2 and speak to Jessica. 

 

Pre-registration is only open for children who live in the district. Transfer requests will not be processed until after June 1.  

 

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

Students must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1.

 

Please note, the following next steps will be completed once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

 

To pre-register, you must first bring proof of residency, such as a utility bill with an address on it, to the district’s administration building.  If you have a child already enrolled and live in the district, you may skip this first step. Next, go to the elementary building to fill out a pre-registration form. 

 

You must bring originals of the following documentation:

  • The state sealed birth certificate. This is different from the one you received in the hospital with the footprints and can be obtained by going to the Howard County Clerk’s Office located in the Courthouse if the child was born in Texas. 

  • The child’s Social Security card

  • Shot records

  • Parent’s driver’s license

 

PRE-K3 and PRE-K4 Registration Requirements

Only students who live in the district can apply. No transfers will be accepted.

 

Please note, the following next steps will be completed once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

 

Parents or guardians must first bring proof of residency, such as a utility bill with an address on it, to the district’s administration building. Next, go to the elementary building to fill out a pre-registration form. 

 

You must bring the originals of the following documentation:

  • The state sealed birth certificate. This is different from the one you received in the hospital with the footprints and can be obtained by going to the Howard County Clerk’s Office located in the Courthouse if the child was born in Texas. 

  • The child’s Social Security card

  • Shot records

  • Parent’s driver’s license

 

To be eligible for the program a student must:

  • Be 3 years old on or before Sept. 1 for Pre-3K 3

  • Be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 for Pre-4K 4

 

And fit into the following guidelines: 

  • Be unable to speak and comprehend the English language

  • Be educationally disadvantaged which means the student is eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program

  • Be homeless as defined by 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, or either parent of the child, or the child's guardian or other person having lawful control of the child.

  • Be a child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority; or the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including state military forces or a reserved component of the the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty.

  • Be in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) following an adversary hearing held as proved by Sect. 262.201, Family Code.

 

If you live in the district and are interested in the paid Pre-K 4 program, please call the office at 432-394-5000, ext. 2.

 

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Local officials address why they won't disclose locations that the COVID-19 patient visited in Big Spring prior to testing positive.


Soon after it was announced that Howard County had their first confirmed case of COVID-19, many residents demanded to know what locations the patient had visited prior to her diagnosis. Both Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman and City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason took to social media to explain why would not be disclosing that information.

 

Judge Wiseman advised that it didn’t matter so much where she was, but how the public should respond.

 

She stated that everyone needs to treat every person that is met in a public setting, as if they are a carrier of COVID-19. Everything that you pick up that has been in the public, you need to treat it as if it is infected with COVID-19. Judge Wiseman advised that this is the only way that the community will be able to beat it and the only way to keep families safe during this crisis.

 

In his post, Mayor Thomason also advised that reporting the social contacts of and locations visited by anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will simply create a very false sense of security for local citizens during a time when they are needed to remain extremely vigilant.

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Big Spring ISD School Board Meeting Highlights, 04/09/2020


Yesterday, the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees met for a regular meeting by teleconference.

 

During the meeting, Fabian Serrano, President of the Board, spoke on the 2019-2020 Board Member Continuing Education Credit Report. Board members also approved various monetary donations that were made for their food program, high school golf team, and girls high school track team. Approval of the Howard County Tax Collection Budget for 2020-2021, as well as for the  instructional materials allotment and TEKS certification for 2020-2021. They also approved the professional employment recommendations for 2020-2021.

 

Superintendent Jay McWilliams advised the school board that there was no further information on whether schools would be allowed to re-open this school year. He addressed graduation concerns by advising that in the event that the district is not able to return to school for the school year, their staff will make every effort to come up with a plan to celebrate the senior class of 2020.

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"Hang in there Hearts" spread hope in Big Spring


Although it is important that the public continue to self-quarantine and practice social distancing, it’s also important to remember that we’re not going through this alone. 

 

After being added to a Facebook group called “Heart Hunters”, a group that was initially generated in Illinois, local resident Tana Bradley-Higginbotham became intrigued when she noticed that the hopeful pictures were inspiring people in communities all over. She decided to adopt a similar idea for Big Spring called “Hang in there Hearts” because she thought it would be a great idea to lift everyone's spirits.

 

"I [had] cut out hearts of my own on all different kinds of colored construction paper and designed construction paper. I passed them out to some of the local businesses around town and asked them to hang in their windows," said Bradley-Higginbotham. 

"[I] called them 'Hang in there Hearts' that way we can be community strong and come together during this time of crisis. We can all be on the same page and pull together," she continued.

 

She also stated that she thinks it's a really fun idea to keep everyone together and let them know that we, as a community, will rise above this. 

 

Higginbotham told KBest News that she encourages people to participate by making their own hearts to display in windows at home, in businesses, or even in their vehicle and post to the Heart Hunters Facebook page, submit to the Big Spring Herald, and look for them when people are out and about while doing essential errands.

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The Mayo Sauce Family Diner offers FREE meal on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020


Earlier this month, Mayo Sauce Family Diner in Big Spring announced that they had to close their doors due to COVID-19. Yesterday, the local restaurant announced that they would be opening for one day ONLY - Easter Sunday, which is April 12th.

 

According to Mayo Sauce Family Diner, they’ll be providing free meals for people in need or to anyone who just misses their food.

 

On Sunday from 12-3 PM, they’ll be serving as drive-thru or curbside service only as no one will be allowed into their building and guests will have to stay in their vehicle. The meal will be a choice of either Brisket or Fried Chicken, 2 sides, and bread.

 

The diner will be accepting donations but a donation is NOT required to receive a meal. Donations received will be used to pay required expenses while being closed.

The Mayo Sauce Family Diner is now located at 2414 Scurry St.

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Easter Drive-In Services at Trinity Baptist Church and Life Church, 04/12/2020


Local churches are still practicing social distancing but some have taken a creative approach to celebrating Easter Sunday.

 

Trinity Baptist Church and Life Church will both have drive-in church services this Sunday. Attendees will be able to stay inside their parked vehicles and listen to the broadcasted service on the radio. Life Church will be broadcasted on KBest 95.7 beginning at 10:30 AM and Trinity Baptist will be broadcasted on 94.3 The Fuse beginning at 11 AM. 

 

Those attending the service at Trinity Baptist Church will enter through the FM 700 entrance and will park east to west. Pastor Scott Kirkland with Trinity Baptist Church, told KBest News that they didn't want Easter to pass them by, so they're inviting the city to join them for "Drive-In Easter".

 

"We're just inviting the city to come and fill up our parking lot, stay in their cars, but tune their car radio [to 94.3 The Fuse]," said Pastor Kirkland. "In a lot of ways, we're going back to the old day. This is like drive-in theater, but drive-in church so we can celebrate the Lord's resurrection."

 

Pastor Kirkland told KBest News that they’ll have abbreviated music with a stage set up in the parking lot and congregational scenes where people can roll down their windows and sing along. He also advised that they planned to have a baptism service following this Sunday’s service.

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COVID-19 Patient update


On April 8, 2020 at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient was described as a 74 year old female resident of Howard County.

 

Last night, April 9, 2020, at approximately 9:45 pm Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman and Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason were notified that this patient had succumbed to the illness and passed away. Both County and City officials are saddened by this news and extend their deepest condolences to each of the family members. They ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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Big Spring food pantry Isaiah 58 re-opens on Sundays


Last month, Isaiah 58, the food pantry in Big Spring, announced that they would have to temporarily close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they have been working on a plan that would allow them to re-open to help the community. This week, Nancy Stinson, CEO and President of Isaiah 58, announced that the local organization would be able to open under a modified schedule.

 

According to Stinson, Isaiah 58 will be open for food distribution on Sundays from 12 pm - 2 pm or while supplies last and it will be set up as a drive-thru. She advised that at this time, clients must arrive in a vehicle to pick up their food box. She advised that drivers will enter and exit the parking lot through the designated area. 

 

Stinson told KBest News that the food boxes that they’ll be distributing will be approximately 30 lbs each and everyone will need to be in a vehicle. Staff will load boxes into the vehicles and no one will be allowed to get out of the vehicle. For clients who may be carpooling to Isaiah 58 on Sunday, she advised that they will allow up to 4 food boxes per vehicle as long as the households are at different addresses. 

 

Anyone in need of food is encouraged to stop by on Sunday. She advised that at this time, no documentation will be needed, and they’ll only be taking minimum information. Stinson did advise that they would need to keep track of clients who take food boxes so that they can ensure that they’re only getting one box every 30 days.

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U.S. ATTORNEY AND IRS-CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION WARN OF COVID-19 ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT SCAMS


U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Acting Special Agent in Charge Rodrick Benton of the IRS–Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office today cautioned taxpayers of the opportunity for criminals to steal economic impact payments through various means of deception. 

 

COVID-19 economic impact payments will be on their way from the IRS in a matter of weeks. For most Americans, this will be a direct deposit into your bank account. For the unbanked, elderly or other groups who have traditionally received tax refunds via paper check, they will receive their economic impact payment in this manner as well. Everyone receiving a COVID-19 related economic impact payment from the government is at risk. Criminals have already begun deceiving taxpayers through unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or other communications purporting to be from the IRS in attempts to steal these payments.

 

“My office will be aggressive in targeting anyone who attempts to steal from the American people during this time of national emergency,” said U.S. Attorney Bash. “I urge members of the public to report scams and other illegal activity to law-enforcement authorities.”

 

If anyone believes that they or their family are the victims of a scam or attempted fraud involving these stimulus payments, they can report it without leaving their home. Please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or by email at disaster@leo.gov. If it is a cyber scam, they may also submit a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

 

“While the Nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, criminals see an opportunity to enrich themselves through fraudulent schemes,” warned Acting Special Agent in Charge Benton. “With the public’s awareness, we can combat these scammers and cease their exploitation of the American taxpayer during these trying times.”

 

IRS – Criminal Investigation has provided the following guidance to identify potential scams.

 

The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).

 

The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.

 

If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up.

 

If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal

information or clicking on links, delete them. Don’t click on any links in those emails or texts.

 

Reports are also swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a fraud – it will take the Treasury a few weeks to mail those out. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a fraud.

 

For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

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New COVID-19 Testing Site Available in Big Spring


A new COVID-19 testing site has been made available at Big Spring Urgent Care, 1700 W. FM 700, Suite B, in Big Spring. 

 

Due to the limited number of tests, COVID-19 testing will only be conducted on patients who meet the testing criteria guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

Priority for testing are as follows:

 

Priority 1 - hospitalization or symptomatic healthcare workers

Priority 2 - symptomatic patients who also have risk factors

Priority 3 - essential infrastructure workers who are also symptomatic

 

Individuals without symptoms are not a priority.

 

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  Dr. Steve Ahmed, Medical Director for the facility, also added that recent travel to COVID-19 hot spots, such as Louisiana, California, New York, and Michigan, is also significant.

 

Dr. Ahmed stated that if you have symptoms, you cannot enter the facility and MUST stay parked in your vehicle and call for a curbside evaluation and testing so as not to unnecessarily expose other people. For curbside evaluation and testing, or for more information, contact Big Spring Urgent Care at 432-264-1911.

 

 

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Howard County and Big Spring officials hold press conference on confirmed case of COVID-19


Yesterday, 04/08/2020, at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is a 74-year-old female and is currently being treated by Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

During last night’s press conference with local officials, City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason advised that the patient contracted the virus as a travel-related case. When asked for more specific information on the location or how the patient contracted the virus, SMMC CEO Emma Krabill advised that the information would not be disclosed in order to protect the identity of the patient. According to SMMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rahith Saravannan, public health officials will make contact with those who may have been exposed. 

 

In Big Spring as of yesterday evening, there have been 63 completed tests, 4 are outstanding, and 1 is positive. 

 

When asked if Howard County would be seeing an increase in testing sites now that there was a confirmed case in the county, Dr. Saravannan advised that SMMC is following CDC protocol for testing. He advised that there are 3 priorities for testing:

 

Priority 1 - hospitalization or symptomatic healthcare workers

Priority 2 - symptomatic patients who also have risk factors

Priority 3 - essential infrastructure workers who are also symptomatic

 

It was also stated that they do not test asymptomatic people. 

 

During the press conference, Krabill stated that SMMC feels good about their testing process and following the algorithm and the decisions they have made on the tests. She advised that when calculating the percentage of people tested in Howard County as a whole, Howard County is at .15 percent. Other neighboring counties are at .16 and .17 percent, indicating that Howard County is in alignment with that.

 

Going forward, Mayor Thomason advised that they would be focusing on containment and asked the public not to panic because this is something that they have been preparing for. He also encouraged people to continue to practice social distancing, good hygiene, wash your hands, disinfect, and stay home.

 

When asked if there would be any further restriction on Big Spring or Howard County, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman stated that would be dependent upon the citizens. She advised that if citizens are staying safe and continuing to practice social distancing, then there would be no need to add to the current disaster order. 

 

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Howard County Confirms First Case of COVID-19


From: Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman,
Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

Re: COVID-19

 

On April 8, 2020 at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is 74 years of age and is a female. This patient is currently being treated by Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

Several weeks ago, local officials to include, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management started following the COVID-19 pandemic and has since maintained communication with community, state and federal agencies.

 

In order to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, Local officials have worked quickly to direct local medical professionals to the state and federal resources available for items such as PPE's and continue to work with state and federal officials on appropriating some of these items.

Local officials continue to work with various local agencies to mitigate mutual concerns and reach conclusions on how best to handle this situation.

 

Your local officials commend all community stakeholders that have been affected by this pandemic as hard decisions have had to be made in the interest of all our citizens.

 

A press conference will be held at the City of Big Spring Council Chamber at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring at 6:00 PM on Wednesday April 8th, 2020

Howard County Judge, Kathryn Wiseman
Mayor, Shannon Thomason
—————————————-
***KBest News will livestream the press conference tonight at 6:00, here on the KBest Media Facebook page.

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Area News: Scurry County confirms 1st case of COVID-19, 04/08/2020


During this morning's live special announcement by Scurry County officials, Dr. Bid Cooper, the local health authority for the county, advised that Cogdell Hospital in Snyder had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

 

According to Dr. Cooper, the individual is between 50-60 years of age. He contacted the hospital complaining of fever and shortness of breath. He was instructed to report to the hospital's drive-in outside of the front door and stay in his car. The patient was met outside by medical staff and determined to be significantly ill.

 

Dr. Cooper advised that they were suspicious of COVID-19 from the start and all people in contact with the patient wore the proper personal protective equipment. The patient was masked and taken to isolation room in the Emergency Room and evaluated there. Subsequently, he was transferred to an outside institution in serious but stable condition.

 

The investigation revealed that he had been to a doctor's appointment in Lubbock on March 18, 2020 and had been in his house since then until his visit to the hospital. Dr. Cooper advised that they'll continue to give daily updates on the county's situation.

 

Scurry County Judge Dan Hicks advised that they will continue to advise of further positive cases as they arise. He also encouraged residents to continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands, don't touch their face, and to wear their face masks.

 

Watch the video announcement at: https://youtu.be/6PoYkH56xvg

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COUNTY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR GOOD FRIDAY, 04/10/2020


Howard County will close all offices Friday, April 10, 2020 in observance of Good Friday. County Offices will open again for business on Monday, April 13, 2020.


Sheriff’s Administrative Offices will be closed but Law Enforcement Services
will operate as normal.

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PSA: City Closures Extended to June 1, 2020


All City rentable facilities, including Dora Roberts Community Center, Municipal Auditorium, Comanche Trail Amphitheater, Roy Anderson Sports Complex and all Comanche Trail Park Pavilions will remain closed until Monday, June 1, 2020 with the possibility of an extension.

Comanche Trail Golf Course, Comanche Trail Park, Comanche Trail Lake, Moss Lake, and all other outside parks, including but not limited to Birdwell Park, ABC Park, Bert Andries Park, and Dr. Morgan Park will remain closed until Monday, June 1, 2020 with the possibility of an extension.

 

All City Offices are still open by appointment only.

 

For any questions or concerns please contact the City Managers Office at 432-264-2401.

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Big Spring ISD addresses graduation concerns and continues to provide meals for children.


During Monday’s Big Spring ISD Update, Superintendent Jay McWilliams addressed concerns on graduation for this year’s senior class. He stated that if the schools were permitted to return to school on May 4, 2020, the district would try to continue with graduation as scheduled. McWilliams also advised in the event that school does not return, BSISD staff are working behind the scenes to have some kind of graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.

 

Big Spring ISD also continues to feed children in Big Spring by providing meals at Moss, Marcy, and the Big Spring Junior High campuses, and with 25 bus service stops throughout Big Spring. According to Kim Young, Food Service Director for Aramark for Big Spring ISD, when BSISD began their meal distribution in mid-March they were serving 384 meals; now the school district serves 2,800 meals.

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Howard County Burn Ban Lifted


Yesterday, 04/07/2020, the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department advised that the burn ban for Howard County had been lifted. The public is reminded to NOT BURN any electrical insulation, treated lumber, plastics, non-wooden construction or demolition materials, heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, chemical wastes, or items that contain natural or synthetic rubber. 

 

They are also advised that they CANNOT have any active flames 30 min before sunset, CANNOT burn at night, and CANNOT burn if the wind is over 15mph. If you are going to burn you are asked to contact the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department at 432-270-7160 or the Sheriff’s office at 432-264-2244 so that they do not get any fire calls.

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Texas State Parks Temporarily Close to the Public


At the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas State Parks will be closed to the public effective at the close of business Tuesday, April 7 in order to maintain the safest environment for visitors, volunteers and staff. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will continue to stay current with the latest public health recommendations and will announce when a definite reopening date has been determined.

 

“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “All state parks will remain temporarily closed until public health and safety conditions improve. During the closure, staff will continue to steward and care for the parks to ensure they can be immediately reopened to visitors at the appropriate time.”

 

"Outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, biking, jogging, walking, hiking, wildlife viewing, and the like are essential activities for Texas citizens. TPWD will continue to do its part to actively encourage and promote these opportunities in ways that are safe and close to home," said Smith.

 

Through this trying time, TPWD has worked diligently to facilitate access to the outdoors across the state, including in the state park system, which hosted nearly 740,000 day and overnight visitors throughout the month of March.

 

Despite the implementation of increasingly restrictive visitor use measures to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 at parks, TPWD has reached a point where public safety considerations of those in the parks, and in the surrounding communities, must take precedence over continued operations.  Difficulty in ensuring compliance with social distancing, problems in maintaining adequate supplies and keeping park facilities sufficiently sanitized are only a few of the challenges encountered by state park staff.

 

While parks are closed to the public, staff will be working to help maintain the standard upkeep, maintenance, stewardship, and continued regular cleaning of site facilities.

 

The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center is currently working toward contacting customers with upcoming overnight reservations to reimburse stays booked through the reservation system. Group and facility reservations have been canceled until April 30. Canceled reservations will not be charged normal administrative fees.

 

Day passes purchased through the reservation system, not associated to the Texas State Parks Pass, will also be refunded without penalties. The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center will automatically process cancellations of both overnight and day-use reservations. If your reservation is impacted by a facility or park closure, a Customer Service Center agent will contact you – you do not need to contact them. They are contacting customers in order of arrival date and appreciate your patience.

 

Questions regarding state park reservations can be emailed to customer.service@tpwd.texas.gov and general park information can be found at TexasStateParks.org

 

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CDC recommends wearing Cloth Face Coverings in public settings


Recently, it was announced that the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

 

Be advised that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

 

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

 

According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should—

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

  • be secured with ties or ear loops

  • include multiple layers of fabric

  • allow for breathing without restriction

  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

 

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

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City of Big Spring COVID-19 Update 04/06/2020


During Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason’s Coronavirus Update, he advised that as of yesterday, April 6, 2020, there were still zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring and Howard County. There have been 60 tests conducted in the county, 55 have come back negative, and 5 are pending.

 

During yesterday’s update, Emergency Management Team Lead Big Spring Fire Chief Craig Ferguson advised that they had been preparing for COVID-19 since February. Since then, they’ve been busy educating their employees and the public to not touch your face, cover your cough, and practice social distancing. He also advised that when going to the store, only 1 family member is needed to minimize the amount of exposure. He also advised that it was important that when calling for help, it’s important to tell the dispatcher and responders how sick you are and how long you’ve been sick so that they can arrive with the proper personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others around them.

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Howard County Junior College Board of Trustees Unanimously Votes to Postpone May 2, 2020 Uniform Election to Nov. 3, 2020


During today's Special Meeting of the Howard County Junior College Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously voted to postpone the May 2, 2020 election to elect 3 At-Large Board Trustees. The election will be held on November 3, 2020.

 

According to approved order, all candidate filings will remain valid for the election to be held Nov. 3, 2020, and the filing period will not be re-opened for the November 3, 2020 election date. It should also be noted that all absentee ballots by mail for those over the age of 65, or due to disability will still be valid. Absentee ballots by mail for voters who submitted those based on expected absence from the county will not be valid for the postponed election.

 

New important dates for the postponed election are as follows:

 

Oct. 5, 2020 - Voter registration deadline

Oct. 23, 2020 - Deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot by Mail

Oct. 19-30, 2020 - Early voting

Nov. 3, 2020 - Election Day

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Big Spring City Council Special Session Highlights, 04/03/2020 - Mayor's Veto Overturned by Big Spring City Council Members


On Friday evening, Big Spring City Council members met in a Special Session. Topics on the agenda included the final reading of an ordinance to postpone the May 2, 2020 General Election to November 3, 2020, and to reconsider the Mayor’s veto in regards to a final reading of a resolution authorizing and approving a project and loan in the amount of up to $6 million to finance infrastructure and road improvements to the Big Spring Airpark.

 

Councilmembers had shown concern during the previous meeting in March about holding the General Election to elect city councilmembers for  Districts 1 and 3 during a pandemic. During the debate on whether or not to postpone the General Election, Mayor Shannon Thomason stated that doing so would violate the City Charter. Councilmembers received input on the legality and validity of postponing the election from City Attorney Andrew Hagan, and also questioned Howard County Elections Administrator Jodi Duck on the concerns of continuing with the election. Overall, the final reading of the ordinance passed with a 5-1 vote with Mayor Thomason voting against; District 2 Councilman Doug Hartman was not present for the meeting.

 

During reconsideration of the Mayor’s Veto on approving the loan and project for improvements to the Big Spring Airpark, the five points of concern from the Mayor were addressed. Thomason still advised that he had concerns on the fiscal stability of the city and sales tax base that, if affected, would affect the EDC. Ultimately, the council passed the resolution approving the project and the loan amount by a 5-1 vote with Mayor Thomason voting against. 

 

During the open session of the meeting, a personnel issue with City Manager Todd Darden was also addressed. Terry McDaniel, District 3, questioned Darden on a purchase made at a local hardware store and about a reimbursement request he recently submitted. McDaniel questioned if the hardware store purchase was made on the City’s credit card and if it was for the city or for personal use, and why he submitted the reimbursement request on a hotel stay that he never checked into. 

 

Darden addressed the questions, stating that he paid for weedkiller from the hardware store with his own money and didn’t ask for reimbursement from the city. He also advised that all travel plans for educational purposes had been cancelled for city employees and cancellation of his room was forgotten. He noted that it was error that the request was submitted and he would pay the $152 on his own. 

 

It was also pointed out that the Mayor approves the City Manager’s vouchers and documents that he signs. Mayor Thomason admitted to signing off on the voucher and stated that it happened the day after the City Council issued the declaration of disaster and noted that there were a lot of changes going on with regards to personnel policy and training events and travel. When asked if he was just as guilty of the infraction on the reimbursement request, Mayor Thomason stated that he probably was.

 

Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6, advised that he didn’t feel that Darden is a strong City Manager at this time because he’s allowing the Mayor to change Big Spring from a City Manager-City Council form of government to a Mayor-Council form of government. DePauw stated that it seemed, to him, that the Mayor was running the city at this time.

 

Darden addressed some miscommunication issues on PSAs and advised that corrections were made to ensure that councilmembers are on the notifications list for anything that he does on COVID-19 issues. 

 

McDonald advised Darden that she appreciated that he was able to handle any issues that she brings to his attention. 

 

DePauw asked Darden if the Mayor’s constant presence at City Hall impedes how he’s able to do his job and conduct his staff to do things. Darden advised that the Mayor is welcomed to City Hall anytime he wants, and noted that Councilmembers are welcomed as well. He also stated that the Mayor was not a hindrance. 

 

Mayor Thomason asked Darden if he felt like he was being micromanaged by him, to which Darden advised that he did not feel that way and assured the Mayor that he was not a hindrance. 

 

At the end, Darden advised Councilmembers that the city works as a team and that’s why he wanted to have his personnel issue in open session with others present for the discussion.

 

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Salvation Army of Big Spring continues to serve community during pandemic.


The Salvation Army of Big Spring continues to serve the community by providing resources to those in need. 

 

Their Social Service Office is still open providing basic assistance to those in need in this community.

 

The local organization is able to provide food, toiletries, hygiene kits, and clothing vouchers.

 

The Salvation Army of Big Spring tries to provide a variety of items in their food boxes. Some items that they are running low on are:

1. Canned meats/frozen professionally packed meats 

2. Cereals/oatmeal 

3. Canned meals such as ravioli, spaghetti o's, beef stew, and soups.

 

Some items that are needed for their toiletries and hygiene kits are:

1. Razors 

2. Feminine hygiene products 

3. Depends

4. Deodorants 

 

Any of the items previously mentioned or a monetary donation for those items would directly help those in need in our community. 

 

Their social service hours are 9-3 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and they are located at 811 W 5th Street in Big Spring.

 

If you need assistance, they can be contacted at 432-267-8239. 

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THE CENTER FOR WOUND HEALING AND HYPERBARIC MEDICINE continues to provide wound care treatment


BIG SPRING, TX– Patients and healthcare providers are experiencing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. At the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center action steps and protocols have been instituted to help continue treatments and services during this crisis.

 

Wound care has been determined to be essential for the community. Care and services provided include treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, PAD associated with sores, wounds and ulcers and advanced wound care.

 

Their data has shown that patients suffering from untreated wounds are 20 times more likely to end up in an emergency room or admitted to the hospital. To help patients with wounds avoid emergency care The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center has implemented measures to continue to provide the support needed to care for patients who need advanced wound care treatments and services during this

crisis.

 

A few of these measures include:

• Proactive Patient Communications – clinical teams are reaching out to patients regarding treatment adherence and working with them to help with flexible appointment scheduling options and to balance patient volumes throughout the day, eliminating crowded waiting rooms. Their dedicated staff has also placed temporary entrances into the Wound Healing Center for patient only access. These processes allow limited entry and strict screening to continue providing a safe environment for our patient population.

 

• Community Education for Physicians – they are continuing to communicate with their referring providers in light of limited access due to COVID-19 related office visit restrictions.

 

The center team understands the importance of remaining vigilant and safe, and to that end, has taken steps to provide a safe place for their patients to receive care.

 

“The health of all our patients within our community as well as surrounding communities is priority here at the Wound Healing Center. We encourage all of our patients to continue on a strong path of healing. I am honored to have such a strong community to come together in a time of need and support each other through difficult times in a safe and effective manner. Together we will get through this stronger,” said Dr. Nguyen, Medical Director of the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

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2020 Advocating for Agriculture Symposium will be held online on Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The upcoming ag education opportunity called the 2020 Advocating for Agriculture Symposium will be held online on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM. 

Social media is full of misinformation about agriculture and agricultural products. This symposium will arm participants with useful scientific-based information about beef compared to synthetic products, new hemp production laws, herbicides used to maintain productive lands, selecting livestock that fit the environment, Path to the Plate programming, pesticide safety and environmental health, proper use of fertilizer, and understanding the sustainability movement.

 

This webinar provides 2.0 Ag. Pesticide CEUs in the General Category for those participants with a Pesticide Applicator License. You must attend the entire symposium to be eligible. The CEUs will be awarded in conjunction with 50 minutes on range and pasture updates and understanding glyphosate claims. Another CEU will be awarded in conjunction with presentations over pesticide safety and environmental health and information on how fever ticks are treated.

 

This month’s online symposium is brought to you by the Corpus Christi based Extension Specialists.

 

The cost of the symposium is $10 and must be paid upon registration.

 

For more information, contact Megan Clayton at megan.clayton@ag.tamu.edu.

To register, visit: https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/productListingDetails/3087

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FORMER ANDREWS MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIR DIRECTOR SENTENCED TO 97 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE


In Midland yesterday, a federal judge sentenced former Andrews Middle School Choir Director Gary Lynn Ragland to 97 months in federal prison on a child pornography charge, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

 

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Ragland, age 59, pay a $20,000 fine; a $5,000 assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA); and, $35,000 in restitution.


Judge Counts also ordered that Ragland be placed on supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term. Ragland has remained in custody since his arrest on October 1, 2019.


On November 21, 2019, Ragland pleaded guilty to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography.

 

According to court records, on September 27, 2019, the school web filter flagged that pornography was being searched for off campus by a school-issued MacBook assigned to Ragland. Ragland admitted to accessing child pornography on a daily basis and using that MacBook to view and/or possess more than 5,000 images depicting child pornography.


Court records further reveal that Ragland has also admitted to inappropriate touching of at least four identified adolescent victims’ breasts and buttocks as well as a previous incident he was accused of inappropriate touching a 12-year-old student. It was deemed unfounded and he previously denied committing the act, but he now admits that what the child alleged actually happened.


“Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are still achieving justice for our most vulnerable victims. This middle school choir director admitted to inappropriately touching multiple children and to using his school- issued computer to download massive amounts of child pornography. He will now spend 97 months in federal prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.


The Andrews Police Department investigated this case along with the Texas Rangers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Berry prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood,
please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

 

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Big Spring Mayor's Coronavirus Update for April 1, 2020


Yesterday, Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason gave a “Coronavirus Update” for April 1, 2020.

 

In his update, the Mayor advised that as of 5 PM yesterday in Howard County there have been 53 tests administered, 11 are still pending, and there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. 

 

Thomason also addressed the closure of city parks and golf courses, noting that it wasn’t something they wanted to do but it was needed because people were not adhering to the social distancing guidelines. 

 

Non-essential businesses are now closed through the end of the month as per Governor Greg Abbott’s recent Executive Order. Other than that, Thomason says that nothing has changed in the City of Big Spring. 

 

According to the Executive Order, churches and religious organizations are exempt from the order. Churches can still meet for services, but are still encouraged to practice social distancing and only have single households sitting together. Mayor Thomason requested that local churches continue to carry out services as they have been, through social media and other options, but made it clear that this was only a request and not an order.

 

To view the full video update, visit: https://youtu.be/pnu9BiBqh94

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Hollingsworth earns first Mary Kay vehicle


On Tuesday morning, Jen Hollingsworth, local Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay, recently celebrated a milestone achievement in her line of work - picking up her first Mary Kay vehicle from a local dealership. 

 

Hollingsworth began her career with Mary Kay less than two years ago. She told KBest News that she debuted as a Sales Director in July 2019 and three months later she earned a Mary Kay Malibu. Hollingsworth explained that there are different levels of cars and the Malibu is the first level. Her goal is to move through the different tiers and earn the iconic pink Cadillac.  

 

Hollingsworth told KBest News that the car is leased by Mary Kay, and she is the driver and she’ll keep it for two years. Mary Kay also covers part of her auto insurance for her and her husband. Hollingsworth explained that as long as she continues working, they’ll send her a new car. 

 

Last week, Mary Kay Inc. announced the company will dedicate part of its global supply chain and manufacturing capabilities to producing much-needed hand sanitizer. The first products off the line will be for donation to those on the front lines addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Production was targeted to begin yesterday and distribution is expected to begin April 3, 2020.

 

The first batch of hand sanitizer products will be donated to the Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation. Baylor Scott & White is the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas and one of the largest in the United States. It includes 52 hospitals, more than 800 patient care sites, 7,500 active physicians and over 47,000 staff.

 

For more on Mary Kay manufacturing and donating hand sanitizer, visit: 

https://newsroom.marykay.com/en/releases/mary-kay-manufactures-donates-hand-sanitizer-to-combat-covid-19-pandemic

 

(courtesy photo)

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Get the Facts... PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT 3-31-2020


 

The following is a PSA from the Big Spring Police Department concerning shelter in place orders:

 

In an attempt to dispel rumors, please be advised that any shelter in place orders (State/City/County) provides no legal requirement that individuals carry letters from their employers regarding whether they are employed with an essential business or performing minimum basic operations for a non-essential business. Police officers have no legal requirement to request such documentation from any individual.

 

The Governor’s order and most local orders all have many approved exceptions that allow for travel besides employment. This includes going to the grocery store, exercising, food pick up and other essential activities identified in the orders. There may be other evidence establishing a violation of an order, but the lack of a letter from an employer is not reasonable suspicion for a detention, nor can a traffic stop be conducted for the purpose of checking someone’s reason for travel.

 

The Big Spring Police Department assures its citizens that no letter of essential employee will be required for documentation when traveling.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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Coahoma ISD Update, 04/0/2020


The following is an update from Coahoma ISD to parents and students: 

 

The CISD administration and faculty are thankful to our parents and students for their collaboration through this exceptional time.

 

As we enter into April, we will continue to provide course material and lessons through on-line resources such as Google Classroom, and we encourage parents to take advantage of these new learning opportunities. If you have questions about how to access our on-line lessons, please call us at 432-394-5000, and someone will walk you through the process. 

 

Lessons will continue to be provided through take-home packets, but we have made a few adjustments to the pick-up schedule. Also please note, the packets will now contain lessons for the entire month. 

 

Packet pick-up:

  • Monday, April 6, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Monday, April 20, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Monday, April 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

If you can not drop-off your packet at the above times, please call and set up a time to return your packet at your convenience. If you have any questions, please call us 432-394-5000. 

 

A grab-and-go breakfast/lunch bag for our students will be available between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please note, the cafeteria will be closed on April 10 and 13 for the Easter holiday, and no meals will be distributed on those days.

 

Please understand that when it comes to the education of your children, we’ve got this. The state of Texas has waived all standardized testing for this year, so you and your children only need to focus on their lessons. Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and if you have any questions please call us 432-394-5000. 

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H-E-B encourages social distancing with new signage and procedures.


COVID Action Manager is a new position that H-E-B has designated at each of their stores to help ensure social distancing to help keep customers and partners safe. 

 

According to Alyssa Owens, Public Affairs for H-E-B, there is now signage on the floors encouraging customers to stand at a good distance away from another customer, as well as checkstand partitions between cashiers and customers. She also advised that partners will be careful while handling money. Instead of handling it directly back to the customer, they’ll be placing it on the counter. Owens also advised that their COVID Action Team are wiping down areas such as basket handles and areas that are not often thought about, such as freezer door handles.

 

When it comes to product availability, initially, H-E-B struggled to keep up with the amount of people shopping. Owens told KBest News that the store is better equipped with large pallet drops of staple items, but she advised that it’s important for customers to not overbuy during this time.

 

For customers who do not want to go inside the store, H-E-B in Big Spring has Curbside available where online orders can be made in advance and picked up later. They’ve also come up with another shopping option for seniors. 

 

Owens explained that with their partnership with Favor Delivery, H-E-B has launched a low-cost option for seniors aged 60 and up that allows them access to their own personal shopper by phone, app, or the Favor website.

 

She also advised that Favor is looking for runners, or personal shoppers, to complete the deliveries, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone looking to make extra money.

 

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